Dan Snyder explains himself and his newly refiled lawsuit this morning over at Fred Hiatt's bullshit emporium. The piece contains all the spoon-banging you've come to expect from Snyder — "I am not thin-skinned" is probably the most ridiculous assertion on that op-ed page since whatever George Will wrote last week — but Snyder makes one point about Dave McKenna's offending City Paper story that I think is worth addressing.
Among many examples in the November 2010 article, the most egregious was when the article stated: This is "the same Dan Snyder who got caught forging names as a telemarketer for Snyder Communications." That is a clear factual assertion that I am guilty of forgery, a serious crime that goes directly to the heart of my reputation — as a businessman, marketer and entrepreneur. It is false.
Here, via a 2001 Associated Press story, is what McKenna was alluding to:
Verizon and its former marketing agency, at the time owned by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, were fined $3.1 million for illegally switching Florida customers' long distance telephone service without authorization.
The state Attorney General's Office said representatives of Bethesda, Md.-based Snyder Communications forged thousands of customer signatures to switch them to service provided by GTE, which is now Verizon. Investigators also found GTE employees forged signatures and "used deceptive tactics" to get customers to switch service.
Snyder himself never forged names; employees of his marketing agency did. Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith seems to think the owner has a point here, and maybe he does. But I dunno. I think it's pretty clear McKenna was using "Dan Snyder" as a synecdoche here, the unitary symbol standing in for his company's component parts. In that light, Dan Snyder forged names in the same way that Nixon bugged the DNC's headquarters. If that's libel, then I'm Jerry Falwell. I mean, it's not as if McKenna posited, without proof, that Dan Snyder has sex with goats. That would be libelous. Never let it be said that Dan Snyder has sex with goats. Or horses. "Dan Snyder has sex with his prize Palomino steed" would constitute a hideous libel. "Dan Snyder forged names," though? Not really. Not like writing that "Dan Snyder and George Will make snuff porn in Sally Quinn's fuck dungeon," without any evidence that Dan Snyder and George Will make snuff porn in Sally Quinn's fuck dungeon. You couldn't write that. You could, I suppose — I mean, you could write that "Dan Snyder and George Will make snuff porn in Sally Quinn's fuck dungeon" — but if you did write that "Dan Snyder and George Will make snuff porn in Sally Quinn's fuck dungeon," and you were subsequently sued for writing that "Dan Snyder and George Will make snuff porn in Sally Quinn's fuck dungeon," I seriously doubt Floyd Abrams would return your calls.
Why I am suing Washington City Paper [Washington Post]
Dan Snyder Re-Files Lawsuit Against Washington City Paper [City Paper]
Image by Jim Cooke